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RTTP: Alien: Isolation - Ten Years On

Why RTTP? - Because Alien is great. I recently watched the Alien quadrilogy through for the first time, and was hungry for more not-Prometheus/Covenant Alien content, so I pulled this out of the old Steam library and gave it another go.

Overview - Slow-burn horror with generational trauma before A24 made it a business model. Originally released by Creative Assembly and SEGA nearly ten years ago in 2014 as a seventh/eighth console generation cross-gen title, Alien: Isolation is a survival-horror immersive sim taking place in the Alien film series universe. You play as Amanda Ripley as she faces the same threat her mother did in 1979's Alien.

The closest comparison in games might be the Amnesia series; Alien: Isolation seemed to take inspiration from Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and Amnesia: The Bunker seems to have drawn inspiration from A:I. Time is a flat circle; game recognizes game.

Graphics - Still impressive 10 years on. Shrouded in darkness, dripping (sometimes literally) with atmospheric smoke/sparks/fire/alien spit, and sticking to (mostly) inorganic settings which can be more easily approximated than natural environments, the graphics hold up incredibly well--especially in 4K 120fps on PC. Dated textures are there if you look for them, but they're not readily apparent when taking in scenes as a whole. I mean, just look at this:

RqJgdFp.png


Playability - Alien: Isolation: Nemesis: The Bunker. I'll keep this general, since I'm guessing most are familiar with the game and its unique alien AI system. Like most immersive sims, this game gets better the more times I play it. Having the alien drop in the room right in front of me still freaks me out, but once I stopped playing hide-and-seek and started playing clench-and-react-proactively, the game really opened up, and I felt like I was playing how Creative Assembly intended. While that diminishes the horror that was inherent in my first playthrough, it just makes Alien: Isolation's craft shine even more today.

Sound Design - Best-in-Class. The Sevastopol hums while the alien crawls in the vents above you, fire sprays from a burst pipe, a save station beeps like a siren's song, and the red-eyed Working Joes' corporate slogans menace in their new context. Tense up as the score and diagetic sounds intentionally mimic the alien's cries to keep you on high alert. All the sounds have their place and create a cohesive whole. Play with headphones.

Giving It a Number - An imperfect 9-out-of-10. Some games are interesting and worth playing but very flawed and land at a 7-out-of-10. I'm thinking of Alpha Protocol. With this game, you have Creative Assembly having never made a first-person survival horror bringing a fresh and incredibly polished take on the genre. There's an achieved artistic vision throughout, one quite unlike any other game. Why not a 10? Pacing does become a problem, and this is a rare (non-open world) game that would be better if it were trimmed down a little. Excising the entire Marlowe subplot would've gone a long way in that regard.

Regardless, this is a treasure of a game that's gotten better every time I've played it, and I can't wait to play it again down the line to see how it flowers even more.

If you've played it, I'd like to hear your thoughts. If you haven't and you're interested, Epic has given it away for free multiple times, and it's often on sale for ~$5.

I just love this series and game so much that I wanted to get my thoughts out. If you read this whole thing, I thank you.
 

Agent_4Seven

Tears of Nintendo
Graphics - Still impressive 10 years on. Shrouded in darkness, dripping (sometimes literally) with atmospheric smoke/sparks/fire/alien spit, and sticking to (mostly) inorganic settings which can be more easily approximated than natural environments, the graphics hold up incredibly well--especially in 4K 120fps on PC. Dated textures are there if you look for them, but they're not readily apparent when taking in scenes as a whole. I mean, just look at this:
You can improve the game visually even more. I recently tested in at 5K on a 3080Ti and it's mind-blowing. One of the best looking game ever made. Sadly, we will never get a sequel :messenger_pensive:
 
You can improve the game visually even more. I recently tested in at 5K on a 3080Ti and it's mind-blowing. One of the best looking game ever made. Sadly, we will never get a sequel :messenger_pensive:
Do you have a display that can do 5K, or are you talking about rendering at 5K and then displaying on a lower-res monitor?
 

Heimdall_Xtreme

Jim Ryan Fanclub's #1 Member
One of the greatest game of all times. Masterpiece.
Best alien game....

and this dumb magazine.. score it a 7

 
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Hunter 99

Member
I loved my experience with alien isolation,was one of my first ps4 games and was truly one of the most tense I have felt playing a game.
The risk/reward was insane.wondering whether you can get to a checkpoint down the hall without losing too much progress with the alien so close but out of sight wondering if it will hear my footsteps. Terrifying....
Would love another experience like that.perhaps that jurassic park survivor game coming out?......
 

Ulysses 31

Gold Member
Masterpiece. So of course it never got followed up on.

10 years...and also 10 years since I created an account here, apparently (just got some achievement for it). Time fucking flies.
It would start to conflict with the lore of the movies if Ripley's daughter also had all kinds of encounters with aliens that were never brought up in the movies.
 

Kaleinc

Banned
Once you realize alien's running around you all the time no matter what and everything is pointless the only thing remaining to do is to either drop or get through as fast as possible. Slog but visuals were ok
 
Has anyone actually beaten this game on nightmare difficulty? I did once with the help of a buddy. We would take turns every 3 or 5 deaths. Easily one of the most challenging gaming experiences in my life, but I never want to subject myself to that frustration again lmao. I remember several parts of the games where I thought "This is it, we are never getting past this section."
 

RAIDEN1

Member
This game hasn't been bettered to this day, the other point being nobody knew that this game would effectively be Alien 5 the movie, after the flop that was Covenant, and who knows when the next Alien movie will be out yet we do know that the next Predator film (Badlands) will be releasing next year!
 
Has anyone actually beaten this game on nightmare difficulty? I did once with the help of a buddy. We would take turns every 3 or 5 deaths. Easily one of the most challenging gaming experiences in my life, but I never want to subject myself to that frustration again lmao. I remember several parts of the games where I thought "This is it, we are never getting past this section."
Im trying
 

Hugare

Member
One of my favorite games of all time

Atmosphere is up there with the best in gaming, the Xenomorph is smart and scary af, the gameplay systems (down to the saving system) are well thought out, brilliant sound design and etc.

I love everything about it. Even its long campaign. You are supposed to feel exhausted by the end of it.


And it's available on mobile. Might be good on a tablet.


The mobile spin-off, Alien: Blackout,was delisted last year.
This port is amazing, and its dirty cheap

With mods, it can look as good as the PC version on Ultra

Its the best looking game on my Odin 2 by far, even beating Switch games running on docked mode.

Best looking Android game, hands down
 
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VAVA Mk2

Member
If you play on PC, use the untethered Alien mod. It makes it more 'realistic' and unpredictable because the Alien doesn't rubber band to you.
When the alien shows up, you genuinely don't expect it.
I own it for XBO, but now I will buy on Steam on PC just for this. Love this game. Thanks!
 
I finished it on Nightmare mode back in 2019 and on Hard this time around. I don't think having a working motion tracker is that much of an edge; its beeping will give you away, so you end up using it rarely anyway. And as for taking more damage from enemies, it's not that big of a difference, since you should be mostly avoiding all damage anyway.

I am curious to check out the alien Untethered/Realistic Mods. The AI in my latest playthrough was awesome. It seemed to figure out that I would immediately make moves after it jumped back in the vents, so it started jumping up only to jump right back down, knowing it'd draw me out!
 
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